Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A salty neighbourhood

from w
We live only a block and a bit from the shores of Corio Bay but this is not about beautiful beaches but an animal health laboratory and nearby very large salt-making ponds and factory called Cheetham Salt. Sometimes we get the smell of salt and of seaweed. This is the area where Newcomb joins Moolap suburb. Richard Cheetham began to harvest salt in 1888 here from the sea. Old photographs show men with shovels making dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of cone-shaped piles of salt, waist-high. The process today is more mechanized but the basic process still relies on two things as old as time: the ocean and the sun.

Cheetham Salt is Australia's largest salt maker. They trap ocean water in a series of flat-lying rectangular ponds along the coastal flats. Using a series of dykes to control the water, the ponds are dried by the sun, leaving the salt behind. The salt is mined and refined in the local Cheetham factory at Moolap. The process relies on the sun's energy to do the work. The only refining Cheetham has to do is to wash, dry, crush and sieve the salt before packaging it for sale. Cheetham makes table-grade through to industrial process salts. All of them are the familiar sodium chloride (NaCl), made to different grain sizes, purity, and water content, as needed. Cheetham also have salt pans on the opposite side of Corio Bay which are sometimes visible from our side.

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Anonymous Kerrib said...

I had heard they were closing down the Moolap operations, but not sure how true that rumour is.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Kerrib, Nice to see you starting a blog about Geelong which is rather different from the rubbish we see in the local paper at times, putting Geelong down. Okay the centre is rather in need of a patch-up but Geelong is a great place to live.

3:05 PM  

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